One of Stamford's better kept secrets, Villa Italia slipped under our radar the first time we tried to compile a list of the city's pizza purveyors. Specializing in traditional Italian food, Villa's owners describe their product as "Italian food the way our mom made it for us" and in light of Stamford's glut of restaurants staking this very same claim, Villa Italia is the real deal.
Establishment. Surrounded by the skeleton of a BevMax that has since left for greener pastures, a seedy Chinese restaurant, and an ice cream shop that never seems to be open, Villa Italia appears quite dubious from the outside. Upon further review, we found a rather charming Italian restaurant catering to the likes of pocket watch owners, $9/glass wine drinkers, and their ilk while remaining quite reasonably priced. The service here was very polite, accommodating, and personable while the bright colors of the dining room really made the establishment pop, especially relative to its undesirable surroundings. Villa Italia has a full menu of Italian fare including, but certainly not limited to salads, pastas, seafood dishes, and a laundry list of traditional and specialty pizzas.
Pizza. Villa Italia's pizza is very reflective of the restaurant itself. The crust is light and airy with a yeasty flavor and a chewy, breadlike consistency. The cheese is above average quality, obviously fresh, and completely devoid of excess grease. However, the gem of this pie was the sauce. Without many frills, Villa Italia's sauce tastes of fresh tomatoes and little else for a traditionally Italian taste. This Neapolitan thin crust stayed piping hot throughout our meal, which is no small feat considering the pie's density (or more appropriately, the lack thereof). That being said, we still weren't crazy about this pizza's texture as its inherent lightness made the pie a bit underwhelming. The meatball topping we ordered was mildly flavorful, but pivotal in giving the overall product more substance. Aside from these small shortcomings, Villa Italia's light, refreshing pie is very good and definitely worth trying.
The bottom line. Do not let Villa Italia's unfortunate location drive you away from such a quality establishment with an enticing Italian menu and downright respectable pizza.
Hits the Spot: 7/10
Large Cheese: $12.00
2009 – Diamond in the Rough